Thousands stranded on French trains in searing heat

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Thousands of rail passengers on six high-speed trains were stuck between Nice and Marseille Sunday afternoon after overhead lines were found snapped.

18 August 2008

MARSEILLE - Thousands of rail passengers were stuck in baking heat Sunday between Nice and Marseille after overhead lines were found snapped, the state-run rail company said.

Six high-speed trains were blocked for about three hours near the town of Aubagne on France's Cote d'Azur where several metres (yards) of wires were found uprooted, rail operator SNCF said in a statement.

"It's miserable luck to have this kind of problem on a day when tens of thousands of passengers are going through stations," a regional SNCF official Olivier Bancel commented.

The cause of the incident was unknown, he said.

Traffic resumed in mid-afternoon, SNCF added, but delays of between one and six hours caused by the backlog were still affecting thousands of passengers on 17 cross-country high-speed trains into the evening.

Temperatures in the region were up to 29 degrees Celsius, according to the weather office.

One train lost electricity, the SNCF said, but its air conditioning system was back on soon after.

[AFP / Expatica]

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